WBA "regular" middleweight champion Erislandy Lara wants to fight more often and against better opponents.
After stepping into the ring once in 2020 and once in 2021, he returns this Saturday to end a layoff and defend his belt against Gary “Spike” O'Sullivan, in the co-main event to the lightweight battle between Gervonta Davis and Rolando Romero, which takes place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
For several years, Lara was regarded as one of the best junior middleweights in the world before moving up to 160 pounds, when he defeated Thomas LaManna by first-round knockout to claim the vacant secondary belt that he defends for the first time.
Ireland's O'Sullivan (31-4, 21 KOs), 37, has lost every time he stepped up in class, including defeats against Jaime Mungía, David Lemieux, Chris Eubank Jr. and Billy Joe Saunders.
Earlier this month, Mexican superstar Saul "Canelo" Alvarez suffered an unexpected twelve round unanimous decision loss at the hands of WBA light heavyweight king Dmitry Bivol.
Back in 2014, Lara lost a very close twelve round split decision to Canelo. There were many observers who felt Lara had done enough to win.
Because of Bivol's recent win, countless fans have looked back at Lara's fight with Canelo.
“It is good and it is bad [that people are once again discussing that fight]. It's good, because they are thinking about me, because they know the type of fight I had against Canelo at the time and the type of boxer I am. Bivol is highly intelligent, with an amateur pedigree. Bivol frustrated Canelo and easily won the fight," Lara told George Ebro.
“You know that [fight I had with Canelo] in Las Vegas.. there were many Mexicans there. Many of them know who I am and tell me that I beat Canelo, that they 100% stole it from me. But we must move forward. It has already been seven years. Let's see if good things will come."
Lara is now 39-years-old, but he's doesn't feel like an aged fighter just yet.
“I don't even think about that. For me it is just a number. I know that time does not pass for pleasure, but I feel good. I remain punctual as always in the gym, I give my best in training. I'm in high spirits, with more hunger and the desire to continue fighting," Lara said.